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JMU professor spearheads RAM clinic

by Eric Gorton


You may have already heard about something called Remote Area Medical Clinic coming to the Rockingham County Fairgrounds March 2-3 to provide free medical services to underserved populations, including people with no health insurance. What may be of interest is the work behind the scenes to get the clinic to come and to run it. 

Laura Hunt Trull, an assistant professor of social work at James Madison University, has helped spearhead the effort to bring the clinic to our area for the first time and could talk to you about what that involved, including signing up nearly 500 volunteers. 


Remote Area Medical is an organization based in Knoxville, Tennessee that collaborates with host groups all around the country to hold its clinics. Services available at the RAM clinic include dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental X-rays, eye exams, eyeglasses prescriptions, eyeglasses made on-site, women’s health exams and general medical exams. 

A clinic typically serves upwards of 500 patients in a weekend and requires the services of more than 500 volunteers, from dentists and hygienists to nurses, physicians, social workers and general support. In addition to medical services, volunteers escort patients from one station to the next, organize parking, make meals, distribute packed lunches, serve as language interpreters and more. 

The cost to a community host group is estimated to be $30,000 to cover the location, emergency management, food and additional supplies. 

Laura Hunt Trull Quote:

“This event can only happen with the dedicated teamwork of community members and organizations, including the RMH Foundation, the Community Foundation, United Way, JMU College of Health and Behavioral Studies and hundreds of businesses, churches and volunteers who have given generous donations, packed lunches and will give their time around the clock to bring these needed services to hundreds of patients in our community.” 

Event details:

Patient parking for the Harrisonburg RAM clinic will be at the fairgrounds, located at 4808 S Valley Pike, Harrisonburg. The clinic parking lot will open no later than 12 a.m. March 2. Ticket distribution for free services begins at 3 a.m., and patients will be seen in chronological order according to their ticket number when clinic doors open at 6 a.m. This process will repeat on Sunday, March 3. People who desire services should arrive as early as possible. 

According to U.S. census data, the poverty rate in the city of Harrisonburg is 23.3 percent, far exceeding the national average of 12.7 percent. Of those under age 65, about one in six is without health insurance. The poverty rate in Staunton is 13.3 percent and in Waynesboro it is 17.4 percent. Because of these factors, RAM expects to treat more than 600 people from Harrisonburg and surrounding communities during the two-day clinic. 


To schedule an interview or get more information, contact Laura Hunt Trull at 


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Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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